Our Focus this month is on May Lewis, accomplished relatively new member and frequent rider.
I met my first real bike rider at Rutgers in 1977. My roommate got bumped from our dorm sophomore year and had to get a room in a house on Stone Street. Her new roommate was this energetic, outgoing, super-fit bike rider. She was the only female on the Rutgers Bicycle Team. It was so cool the way she lugged her bike up and down the stairs and stored it in their tiny room, and sometimes would pull it apart and work on it. Other times, she would burst into the room dressed in her “kit”, face flushed, with exciting stories of her laborious adventures of cycling with a group of guys. I thought she was “all that”. My inner athlete, struggling to get out, thought, “Hmm, maybe I could do that”. Well, I didn’t have the guts to go out for the bicycle team, but a few years later I did buy a beautiful red and white Schwinn and joined the Central Jersey Bicycle Club. After enjoying several months with the club, my bike was stolen from the porch of the weekend “shore house” I shared with my friends.
After that, I got sidetracked from bike riding. I got a job in New York, and found other interesting athletic endeavors including running and step aerobics (complete obsession…) Fast forward to a wonderful marriage and three beautiful sons. And then came spinning classes! Spinning brought back memories of my brief but exciting stint with bike riding back in the early ‘80s. I knew I had to get out there on the road again. In 2009, I was pursuing a graduate degree in Elementary Reading and Literacy. It required a lot of sitting at the computer while writing papers weekend after weekend. I promised myself I would buy a bike and join a club that spring, as soon as I finished my graduate studies. Mother’s Day that year, my husband John presented me with a funny and creative gift – several coffee cans of coins that he had been saving in his closet. We drove over to TD Bank, where they had this cool coin counting machine you could use for free at that time, to cash them in. I was tickled with delight when it turned out to be over $500. I used that as the down payment for my bike.
My first ride with PFW was a C ride. I thought it was too leisurely. So, the next week I tried Ira’s Saturday B ride and got my butt kicked! Thankfully, they didn’t drop me. I persevered, and little by little it got easier. I’ve had many great mentors and cheerleaders since then, notable among them are Giorgio Foradori, Dave Hepburn, and Erich Woisetschlager. I love riding in a group. I love being outdoors, working hard, getting stronger, struggling to the top of hills, then flying down them. I love escaping real life for just a few hours every week and enjoying a very different perspective of my New Jersey surroundings. I love the conversations, too. A couple of years ago I even convinced my husband John to join the Princeton Freewheelers so that we could share this pleasurable escape together. I look forward to many more years with the club.
Thanks to all of you for enriching my life in so many ways.